Wasserman Schultz's opponent sees Cantor-like opportunity
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Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Democratic primary opponent indicated Monday he sees some parallels between the Florida race and the 2014 matchup that forced a top House leader out of his seat.

"There's a big anti-incumbent wave in this country. I saw it start two years ago when Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorMeet Trump's most trusted pollsters Embattled Juul seeks allies in Washington GOP faces tough battle to become 'party of health care' MORE, the second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, lost to a college professor who he outraised by 40-to-1," Tim Canova said Monday on MSNBC, referring to the former House majority leader. 

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"And you are a college professor trying to do exactly the same," MSNBC's Kate Snow interjected.

"Well, that is true," Canova responded. 

The law professor's campaign in the Sunshine State’s 23rd Congressional District against Wasserman Schultz, who serves as the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, has seen a boost following conflict between Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders on difference with Warren: she's a capitalist 'I'm not' Sunday Show Preview: Trump's allies and administration defend decision on Syria Klobuchar takes shots at health and education plans supported by Sanders and Warren MORE and Wasseman Schultz.

Sanders backed Canova over the weekend, saying he "clearly" favors Canova in the primary.

"His views are much closer to mine," Sanders said.

Wasserman Schultz insisted in a Saturday statement she would remain neutral in the presidential race between Sanders and front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRonan Farrow exposes how the media protect the powerful Kamala Harris to Trump Jr.: 'You wouldn't know a joke if one raised you' Comey says he has a 'fantasy' about deleting his Twitter account after end of Trump term MORE, saying she looked forwarding to working with Sanders "for Democratic victories in the fall."

Still, Sanders, who vowed to oust her from the DNC if elected, escalated the conflict and started fundraising for her primary opponent on Sunday. Canova's campaign announced Monday it had raised more than $250,000 since Sanders backed him. 

"We all watch the news, and we see how divided the party has become, and we can all assess, make our determinations as to whether she's been playing a unifying role or a divisive role," Canova said of Wasserman Schultz. "Certainly a large part of the country and of the folks here in South Florida think that she has been playing a very divisive role."

Regarding the Florida primary, Canova accused some of her allies of trying to "rig" union endorsements in their state. "If that's any indication of the type of politics that she plays ... I can understand why a lot of folks are contributing to my campaign."

He also dismissed Wasserman Schultz's strong numbers in Florida, saying "her popularity is a bit of a myth" and noting that the district is safely Democratic. "In 12 years in Congress, she's never had a primary challenge."

"She went from studying political campaigning in college to straight into politics and, I think, has a very narrow view of politics and the world as a result," Canova said, before touting his own background teaching for 20 years, working as an aide on Capitol Hill and practicing law in New York.

Canova accused Wasserman Schultz of being "oblivious" to the tough jobs market, going after her votes in Congress on trade legislation and other issues.

"When you look issue after issue, she is very far from progressive," he said.

"She's a drug warrior, she's been against medical marijuana, she's for mass incarceration, she's been taking money from private prison companies and pushing private prison," he said. "This doesn't sound like a progressive record to me."